Tribal Profiles
Alaska - Yupik Region


Yupik

Rural Alaska has witnessed drastic lifestyle changes in the short time since it became a state in 1959. These changes include an ever-increasing dependence on fossil fuels, particularly gasoline and diesel fuel. Fossil-fuel use impacts virtually every aspect of Alaska's ecosystems even as it helps alleviate some of the demands of living in such a harsh environment. Today, nearly all Alaskan residents rely on fossil fuels in their daily activities. The use of snowmobiles and motorized boats has helped ease the intense and rigorous lifestyle of rural residents-they have allowed for a more comfortable way to hunt, fish, and gather traditional foods.

While these new technologies add to the problem of fossil-fuel dependence, they also provide ways to adapt to climate change impacts. The people of Southwest Alaska have noticed extreme changes in the environment, including lower precipitation rates, which result in lower lake and river levels. These lower water levels have prevented hunters from entering previously accessible areas in some tributaries. However, with recent technologies such as jet-drive outboard motors, people can again reach these hunting areas, thus easing the transition to the evolving landscape.




©2002 Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals & Northern Arizona University
Last updated: February 10, 2011